Thursday, November 7, 2013

Review: Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens

The READYFYLL Pen (sometimes called a thumb-filler) is based on a 1915 patent by Henry R. Coit, whose Ready Fill Pen Company sold pens of the same design a hundred years ago.
                                                                                                  - From Richards Pens
ABOUT

Body Material: Acrylic
Trim: Chrome
Length (capped): 5"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 4.75"
Length (posted): 6.63"
Barrel Diameter: 0.43"
Section Diameter: 0.40"
Nib material: JoWo Steel
Weight: 15 g/0.53 oz
Fill type: Sleeve-filler/thumb-filler
Price: $175.00USD steel nib, $295.00USD with 18K gold nib
Where to buy: Richards Pens

PACKAGING
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Packaging
The Gate City Pen READYFILL arrived in a simple blue box with a felt lined inside, held in place with a felt strap. It contained a card that indicated the nib had been "Binderized". The packaging is large for such a small pen and unfortunately, doesn't make the Keep It? cut.

APPEARANCE
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Capped
The READYFILL is a compact pen, especially when I compare it to the Gate City Pen Belmont I previously reviewed. The barrel is slim, the cap a little wider than the barrel, and deeply seated on the barrel by threads located at the very end of the section. The ends are almost completely flat, with a very slight curve. the whole pen is smooth - no facets or ridges, except for a single band in the cap, engraved into the acrylic. The clip is not attached to the cap, it's just sitting around it. The READYFILL filler involves a small hexagonal black sleeve around the barrel. Since the pen is compact, there isn't a whole lot of empty barrel space.
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Filler
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Uncapped
There's a lot "going on" with this pen - a removable clip, the rotating, hexagonal sleeve. It looks a little busy. In a way, I wish it was more simple or larger because the colour and depth of the body is so beautiful, it can't be seen enough. It should be shown off. 

NIB & PERFORMANCE
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Nib
The JoWo steel nib is a two-tone iridium point nib, made in Germany. As it has been Binderized - adjusted for flow, alignment, and smoothness. As such, this broad nib is juicy, wet, and writes like a dream. If anyone ever tells you that you must have a gold nib to have a smooth writing experience, ignore them and get your steel nib tuned by a nibmeister! I love this broad nib.

It produces an excellent line, and is quite wet (as you can see in the writing sample). The drying time is a good 40 seconds or so on Clairefontaine paper, because of the wetness. Some line variation is possible though it's not very obvious because the nib is so broad and wet to begin with.
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Writing Sample
The clip is quite loose - as in it's not a tight clip, but it certainly works as a clip. It isn't attached to the body and thus can be moved around or removed entirely, should you wish.

The filling system is intriguing. This thumb-filler is new to me. I like the idea of having the hexagonal sleeve attached to the pen - once rotated, it exposes the bar and sac that can be depressed to fill the pen, but it cannot be removed so it does not get lost. It also provides a flat surface for the pen to sit on so it doesn't roll away. Most convenient!
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Capped
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Posted
At first I had a hard time figuring out what angle to fit my finger into the space in order to press the bar to ink up. I wonder what someone with large fingers would do!
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Filler
IN HAND

Though it is compact when capped, it is almost the length of a Lamy Al-Star when posted, so it does become a decent size. It's still a slender pen though. The cap posts right up to the sleeve, giving it a nice length.
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Comparison
The strange and interesting thing about this pen is the way it fits my hand perfectly. Whether it will fit every hand perfectly like this, I can't say. But for me, I grip it, and the opening of the sleeve fits right into the web of my hand. It's amazing. It's so comfortable. It feels like a comfort fit ring. I love it. The pen has great balance, a great weight. I love to write with it.
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Uncapped
Gate City Pen - READYFILL Claire de Lune Fountain Pen - Broad @RichardsPens Posted
PROS
  • Gorgeous deep marbled blue.
  • Unique filling system.
  • Fantastic Binderized nib. Broad, smooth, perfect. 
  • Can be clipped or clipless. 
CONS
  • Aesthetically, the black section would probably look cooler if it was the same as the rest of the body (in my opinion).
  • The filler might be difficult to operate if you have large fingers.
OVERALL

This is an interesting, unique pen, and not one I would have considered had it not been offered to me. I enjoy getting the opportunity to try out new and different filling systems, so I'm most happy I was given this chance - thank you again, Richard! I am madly in love with this juicy broad nib. I'd pick nothing but that. It's cool that it can be a clipped or clipless pen. I doubt this pen would appeal to everyone as it does not have a classic look to it. At this price though, you get a unique and attractive pen with a nibmeister-tuned nib! Yummy.

A big thank you to Richard Binder for sending this beautiful pen for review. I was not compensated monetarily for this review. Everything you read here is my 100% honest to grapes opinion. 
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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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